Hebburn Town 3-3 North Shields
An absolutely magical goal from Paul Robinson late into the game gave North Shields their first point of the season away against Hebburn Town.
Three first half goals for the hosts, all from ex-South Shields players (two for Michael Richardson and one for Graeme Armstrong) gave Hebburn a commanding half time lead; despite a debut goal from Gary Day for the visitors.
A Lewis Suddick penalty midway through the second half reduced the arrears to one goal, following a foul on Robinson on the edge of the box.
And it was Robinson, with two minutes left on the clock, who sent the travelling Robins fans into raptures when his shot from the half way line looped in over the head of Sam Taylor; giving his side their first point of the season.
Robinson had an early chance to give the Robins the lead when in the second minute, his freekick from just outside the area curled narrowly wide of the Hebburn goal.
He was made to rue this miss as only one minute later, Armstrong managed to work himself enough space in the Robins penalty area to strike the ball under the body of Greg Purvis; giving the Hornets the early lead.
The Robins were not behind for long as Gary Day, who was making his debut for the side after joining from Blyth AFC on loan, turned his marker 20 yards out from goal before unleashing a ferocious shot past the outstretched Taylor.
This goal did not deter the hosts as in the fifth minute, a delicate chip from Richardson almost snuck in under the cross bar. Thankfully though, he put too much power on his shot and the ball landed on top of the goal.
The hosts then had two great chances to score in the 12th and 13th minute, both from set pieces, however, these attempts were heroically cleared off the line by Robins defenders; with a little help from the crossbar as well.
The Hornets finally broke through the resolute Robins defence in the 19th minute when a poor back pass set Richardson through on goal and, after he rounded the keeper, he comfortably slotted the ball home.
Despite the goal, the Robins kept fighting and in the 20th minute, a Jack Cooper cross fell to Jack Donnison, however, his effort was well saved by the Hebburn shot-stopper.
The Hornets capitalised once again on the visitors inability to convert their chances when, in the 39th minute, following a clever piece of forward play from Armstrong, Richardson’s strike from the edge of the box beat Purvis and increased the hosts lead going into the half time break.
The second half began strongly for Hebburn and if it wasn’t for a miscued shot from substitute James Fairley in the 46th minute, the game would have been well and truly over.
The Robins were awarded a glorious chance to get back into the game when, in the 51st minute, Robinson was brought down inside the box by a Hebburn defender, giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. Lewis Suddick made no mistake from the spot; sending the keeper the wrong way and reducing the hosts lead to just one goal.
This seemed to breath new life into the visitors as debutant striker Day almost claimed his second goal of the game in the 57th minute, however, after a sensational turn, his curled effort just crept over the crossbar.
As time crept on, the only side that looked like scoring were North Shields and in the 68th minute, Robinson almost brought the house down when his long range shot needed to be brilliantly tipped over by the over-worked Taylor.
Suddick had a chance himself to double his own personal goal tally in the 73rd minute, however, his fizzing effort drew another excellent save from Taylor.
Two minutes later, Day had another chance to draw North Shields level, only to see his close range effort blocked by the feet of the Hebburn keeper in the 78th minute.
As the game entered the 88th minute, the Robins fans were sensing they were about to suffer yet another frustrating defeat, however, Robinson picked the ball up on the half way line and before anyone else could react, he unleashed an incredible shot which seemed to catch Taylor out; with the ball looping over his head, taking one bounce on the line before rippling the back of the net.
There was even a chance for a last second penalty, after a foul on substitute Drew Eastlake, however, after what seemed a clear push in the back, the referee waived the claim away.